As an appendage to The Angels of Autumn, Joshua Skye wrote another fantastic tale to help solidify the world the book takes place in. If you haven’t picked up The Angels of Autumn yet, stay tuned after the story!
Her name was Francis Hayes and she lived across the street from that Kingsley woman, the one with those little deviant twin boys. At eighty-seven years old she liked nothing more than to sit in her wicker porch swing and watch the denizens of Wren go by, noting and commenting on the disgusting regression of the collective character. The worst music known to man was pumped at full volume from unkempt vehicles, the clothes the young’uns wore were an affront to the eyes, and the way they talked to each other and disrespected their elders was just unforgivable. If her own kids hadn’t walked off with her rifles back when Reagan was in office she would have loved to lay one across her lap as she sat on the porch, intimidating all those who noticed her as they sped on by. The thought of it made her chuckle.
With gin in her coffee and a Pall Mall between the fingers of her right hand, she ambled out the front door. The morning had a chill in the air and a wispy mist ebbed and flowed leisurely through the valley. The sounds of the waking township seemed muted, distorted.
Her weary bones creaked, joints popped, as she sat down. She’d made herself an overstuffed cushion from one of her dead husband’s old tee-shirts. She sunk down and snuggled into it. She missed being able to pull her legs up and crossing them before her. Her toes barely touched the weathered old boards of the porch, but it was just enough to rock herself back and forth. There was comfort in it.
The inconsiderate cretin on the souped-up, muffler-deprived Harley Davidson thundered by, he did every weekday morning and every weekday evening. She hated bikers, they were so rude and disrespectful. If there was any of the young’uns she would have liked to actually blast into oblivion, it was him. She couldn’t count the number of mornings he’d yanked her from her precious sleep with the din of his crotch-rocket. She was convinced there wasn’t a jury in the world that would have imprisoned her for ridding the world of such an impertinent twerp. She took a long sip of her enhanced coffee and then another and then a third. It wouldn’t be long before she’d have to struggle to her feet and go make herself another one. She’d have to get herself one of those new, absurdly large mugs she’d seen down at the general store.
As the sun lifted higher in the sky and the wispy fog grew thin, children appeared in shuffling groups as they walked to school. They often disgusted Francis with their garish clothing, stupid haircuts, raunchy language, and hyperactive ways. If she could have slapped them all out of their ignorance, she would have. She imagined herself younger and spry and able to fly off her porch in a few bounces to the sidewalk. There might even be a kind of gratification in assaulting those silly little things, the looks of shock contorting their cherubic faces eliciting laughter from her. Giggling out loud she drew the attention of two teenage boys in the midst of horseplay. They whispered and pointed. She gave them a dismissive gesture as she groaned and got to her feet. It was time for another cup of coffee with an even more generous splash of gin. She hobbled inside.
Her house was relatively quiet and still. The darkness was penetrated by beams of sunlight seeping in from the spaces between the heavy curtains, flurries of dust danced in them. She had an old black and white television set, but she never watched it anymore. There was nothing but trash on these days. She didn’t need to turn on the light in the kitchen. Even though it was almost pitch black she easily moved about it. She knew her home only too well, she’d lived there for over fifty years. She could feel the steam from the coffee on her old fingertips as she poured it. The gin from the fridge cooled it immediately.
She took a long, indulgent gulp as she trundled out of the kitchen. Two figures were standing in the shadows of her living room. Her heart seemed to leap into her throat as she flinched away from them. Her mug slipped out of her hands and shattered on the hardwood floor. Her sudden shock was instantly replaced by anger. “What the hell are you doing in my house? Get out of here right this minute. Do you hear me?”
The teenagers were whispering, pointing.
She pointed right back and then gestured toward the front door. “Get out of here!”
One of the boys was shoved forward by the other. As he moved into a beam of sunlight strange sounds leached out of him, warped and warbling noises like the cries of things underwater. His face wasn’t human, it was a strange glistening smear with vague, child-like features sinking down into a gelatinous visage.
Francis brought her arthritically twisted fingers up to her face. She wanted to scream but nothing would come out. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She didn’t want to. It was nightmarish. It was hellish. She watched in wide-eyed dread as what had once been a teenage boy oozed out of the clothes it wore. A mouth opened, there were rows and rows of jagged teeth. And then it pounced. She fell, hit the floor hard, her head bouncing off of it. She’d blinked out by the time the monster began to violate and eat her.
If you enjoyed that, perhaps you’ll also enjoy Joshua’s The Angels of Autumn, It’s a clever thriller peppered with a little gay erotica to spice things up!
Kincaid Kingsley returns to the town of his childhood after the death of his twin brother, Xander. Believing the crime to be motivated by hate and prejudice, Kincaid sets out to discover why the police are no longer actively investigating the case and hopefully uncover his brother’s killer in the process.
Things in Wren are not as they seem, however, and the closer that Kincaid gets to an answer, the more danger he encounters. Why are all the townspeople so afraid to share what they know?
As the mystery surrounding Xander’s death unravels, the town becomes increasingly blind to what is actually going on. Can Kincaid discover who killed his brother and save the town from evil?
Interested in picking up a copy?
Joshua Skye was born in Jamestown, New York but predominantly grew up in the Texas Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He is a graduate of K.D. Studio Actor’s Conservatory of the Southwest and has worked on indie/underground films and on stage. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his partner Ray of sixteen years and their eight year old son, Syrian. His short stories have appeared in anthologies from STARbooks Press, Knightwatch Press, Sirens Call Publications, Rainstorm Press, JMS Books and periodicals such as Blood and Lullabies. He is the author of The Singing Wind, Bareback: A Werewolf’s Tale, The Grigori and the The Angels of Autumn, along with the forthcoming Midnight Rainbows.